How to Choose the Best Lens for Wildlife Photography

We all want to be able to get closer to some of the world’s biggest and most beautiful creatures, but with the animal kingdom so vast and certain beasts exclusive to their habitats, it can be very hard to be able to see them in person.

The next best way is through the imagery and videos that are captured by photographists who specialize in being in the wild. The shots that they capture can be incredible in terms of how immersive and lifelike they feel, as they can give viewers a real sense of being where the shot is made and feeling up close and personal with the animal photographed or filmed.

Of course, the lenses that are used on the camera equipment are key in helping to bring the shots to life, with this resource being almost as crucial as the actual camera itself. However, with so many different lenses on offer, it can be a daunting task to know which one is best to achieve the desired outcome. While those who are experienced and know what it takes to be in the wild and get the shots they need, those starting out or still relatively new may find it more difficult.

Image Quality

The quality of the images captured will always be the main priority and the first consideration for photographers. It is only natural to want to be able to capture the best shots and footage. Therefore, many look at this aspect first.

It is important to look for one that is able to produce sharp images that are extremely detailed and clear. If they can help make the image feel lifelike and make the colors and action captured bounce from the shot, people are more likely to appreciate it than those that look dull and boring.

Focal Length

Among one of the key considerations that should be thought of before selecting a lens is its focal length. This can help an individual to be able to capture the right type of shots when selected correctly, with the right one also able to make sure the animal being snapped can be seen in greater detail.

There are a variety of distances available, with those that are greater in distance often better. The distance is always in millimeters and it represents the space between the “nodal point” of the lens and the camera’s sensor. The longer lens can be more expensive, but the quality of imagery captured can be greater. It is important to think about what the shots are for, as those that are being made available to download as free animals stock photos or being used for professional video footage will want to be better than those that are being used for personal use.


Aperture is another photography term, but it is something that all wildlife photographers need to consider when looking for the best lens. Aperture refers to the opening in which light is let into the camera. Those that are operating in a wildlife environment that needs them to be more active in the dark will want one with a low f-number, as this is wider and is perfect in low-light scenarios. This type of lens can also be perfect for those who want to isolate an animal from its background, too.

Image Stabilization

Wildlife photography requires lenses with built-in image stabilizing capabilities to minimize the chances of producing a blurred picture due to handheld shooting. For instance, with wildlife always on the run and some of the world’s animals moving fast, an image stabilizer can capture the movies that are being made whereas, the photographer gets the needed shots when they are in action.

Shooting any picture with this lens produces much less shake and disruptions that could happen to any other lens.

Weight and Size

While the quality of the lens is always thought of as its priority, it is also important to think about its weight and size. They can be heavy and if they are large, they can be difficult to continually carry around and swap over when required.

Wildlife photography can be something that requires a lot of patience, but it can also require individuals to be incredibly quick as things can happen without warning. If the lens is not conducive to this, then the shot could be missed and a “once in a lifetime” shot may be missed forever.

Think about everything

When trying to find and select the best lens for a wildlife photography activity, it is always best to consider the aspects outlined. These will help you to capture the best shots and be able to achieve the desired outcome in the best possible way.

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